Posted by: David Stewart | April 26, 2009

Memories that Bloom in Spring

I was taking some coffee grounds out to the garden to dispose of them today, when I noticed Mom’s Rhodie was in bloom.

It was a surprise, because I thought the poor thing was dead!

When my mom died, we had good friends who dropped by our house to visit.  They had with them a red rhododendron. They said it was a tradition for their family. When someone died, they would give a plant which would be a reminder of the person for years to come.

This little plant has unfortunately been the victim of poor locations – it had to get relocated to make room for a front porch expansion. My ability to keep plants alive is quite poor, usually due to neglect, and I was certain that this poor little plant wasn’t going to make it. It has been years since I remember seeing any blooms or growth on it, and it seemed on the verge of death more than once.

Mom's Rhodie, April 2009

But there it was this afternoon, blooming like crazy!

Mom died a full 20 years ago. She died too young. She never got to know her grandchildren for the beautiful, engaging and funny women they have grown into. She never saw my marriage to Deb last for over 25 wonderful years. I think she would have been happy with how all of us turned out.

But her rhodie lives on in our yard. To give it perspective, it lives in the shadow of another rhododendron.

Mom's Rhodie, 2009 in perspective

In another month, that bigger plant will be chock full of blooms and will announce Mother’s Day to the world in all its splendor. Late April is not the time I expect to see a rhododendron in full bloom, it seems too early. But it’s nice to know that Mom’s memory, like her flowers, blooms every now and again.



  1. 20 years ago! Wow! That was very early. She would have enjoyed your family as it is today, to be sure! That’s a lot of Mother’s Days since her death. I didn’t know this about your history…

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